Manoj Kumar Welcomes Woh Kaun Thi Remake, Offers To Write The New Version
Veteran actor and filmmaker par excellence Manoj Kumar who is now 81, is not only happy to hear that one one of his most iconic films Woh Kaun Thi is up for a remake, he has even offered through this writer, to write the remake.
“I heard that well-known film is being remade. I am glad, the so-called classics need to be brought forward to today’s generations in a fresh innovative way, which is not to say that the classics must be tampered with. I can’t say I’m happy with the way some of the old evergreens were remade recently. But if you remember Mehboob Khan had remade his own film Aurat as Mother India. The remake was in fact far better than the original. I am hopeful about the remake of WohKaun Thi because the producer PrernaaArora has been doing good work like Padman and Toilet Ek Prem Katha,” avers Manoj Kumar who in a prolific career of over 50 years has directed iconic films like Upkar , Shor and Roti Kapada Aur Makaan and acted in superhits like Pathhar Ke Sanam,Sanyasi and WohKaun Thi.
Recalling the experience of shooting for WohKaun Thi Manoj Kumar says, “Do you know, one of the film’s most iconic songs Lagja gale se was initially rejected by the director Raj Khosla. I remember the music composer Madan Mohan Saab, a very sensitive artiste, was shattered. He came to complain, ‘Manoj Bhai, look at the composition that your director has rejected.’ I heard the song and I immediately knew its potential. I took it back to Raj Khosla made him hear it with me. At the end of the song, he got up quietly went out of the room to get his chappals came backinside and began hitting himself with it. Madan Mohan and I were aghast. ‘Yeh aap kya kar rahen hain?’ Raj said he was hitting himself for being such a fool to reject a composition like Lag Jagale se…I am glad the producer Prernaa Arora has taken the rights of two of the songs Lag jaa gale se and Naina barse rimjhim. I feel the other songs in WohKaun Thi like Chhod kar tere pyar ka daaman, Jo humnein dastaan apni sunayi and Shokh nazar kibijliyan are equally iconic.”
Manoj Kumar is in an aggressively confessional mood. He lets it out that the dialogues and scenes in WohKaun Thi were written by him. “Yes,I admit I wrote many of the scenes and dialogues. I will tell you how it happened. I reached Simla for the shooting .The song Shokh nazar ki bijliyan was filmed on Helenji and me. I felt something was missing. After the shooting I went to the director Raj Khosla’s room. My leading lady Sadhanaji,the producer N N Sippy were also present. I told Raj, ‘Kuch jamm nahinraha(something is amiss). The lines need to be changed.’ And I handed over papers with the changed dialogues written by me. RajKhosla read them. He quietly tore up the original dialogues and threw it into the fireplace saying, ‘From tomorrow we will be using Manoj’s lines.’ That’s how I ghost-wrote the scenes and dialogues in this ghost story.”
Why didn’t Manoj Kumar take credit for his efforts? “Arrey yaar. It didn’t matter. I didn’t do it for the name. I did it to improve the film. During those days we worked on every film like a family. Sadhana, Raj Khosla, Madan Mohan and I were one family duringWohKaun Thi.We didn’t think about who should get credit or not. We worked like a team of cooks in a kitchen putting together the best meal possible.”
Manoj says he would be happy to write the new version of Woh Kaun Thi. “All they have to do is ask.”
Prernaa Arora has happily agreed to ask.